Paranormal Activity 4 Reviews
What I found here yet again was that the film's point of view from a video/surveillance camera works quite well in drawing you in. Nothing new since the previous films were shot the same way, but I do think it's of value if done correctly as it is done here. And the finely done audio scares are still getting me. I believe that what these paranormal films have to offer is the ability to scare you without doing too much. A sudden crash of a large glass chandelier, or just a basketball bouncing at the right moment can get the job done nicely.
In this one, it goes in the witchcraft direction of what was touched upon in the last film. Not sure if they did it in the second, but anything's possible. Witch stuff really freaks me out, so I may be more susceptible to some growl from something unseen or someone being thrown into a wall, from a room, or has their back snapped by something unseen from above. So to get back to what's going on here in the story, Katie is back in some twisted web of evil that wishes to claim her son as some type of warlock leader. It's possible right? So I say this is something to check out if you're in the mood for some cheap thrills if you found any of the other paranormal films to be of interest.
And hey,"It's Halloween; everyone's entitled to one good scare."
Synopsis: Basically, in this installment, you guessed it, more paranormal activities occur in yet another large and expensive-looking suburban house. OK, so there is a story here, which attempts to uncover the whereabouts of Hunter, the child taken at the end of "Paranormal Activity 2", but it's pretty weak, and really shouldn't be focused on at all if you are planning to see this movie and well, enjoy it. So let's get right to the point. Is "Paranormal Activity 4" scary? Well, aside from two or three scenes which deliver visually intriguing shock value, the answer would be no. BUT, when seen in a packed theater (which is the only way that anyone could possibly enjoy any of these films) "Paranormal Activity 4" effectively uses the silent, silent, silent...LOUD, LOUD, LOUD...silent, silent, silent...LOUD, LOUD, LOUD modern horror technique, which does equate to a movie that is rather entertaining, or entertaining enough to keep even the most flippant audience member on board until the very last scene (a last scene which actually may in fact be the best of the lot).
Why horror movie sequels aren't scary: "Paranormal Activity 4" has much of the same effects (doors opening by themselves, people being lifted off of the ground and dragged down the hall, doors closing by themselves, etc.) if not more than the first three did. So why have these movies become progressively less scary? Well, that question has a simpler answer than you may think. Like a tale as old as time, it seems like once the big production companies get their hands on these (mostly independent) horror films, they stupidly crank out sequels which contain not only similar (if not the same) effects, but stories that are excruciatingly repetitious, only cranked up to 11 each time. Example: If in the first film the monster kills one teenage couple having sex, then in the sequels Jason, or Freddy, or Michael must make their way from orgy to orgy, ripping through piles of faceless, unwed teens. Poor killer, that sounds tiresome. In terms of "Paranormal Activity 4", many of the effects are ones audiences have seen in its predecessors or its emulators, and thusly may be seen as unimpressive by those who are looking for that fresh new terrifying visual. By the way, I know that there are some of you out there saying to yourself "I don't know what Markus is talking about. I didn't find any of the "Paranormal Activity" movies scary at all." And to those I say, if you didn't think even the first "Paranormal Activity" was scary, then why are you reading a review of "Paranormal Activity 4"?
Final Thought: So yeah, there are a few "give me a break" moments in this film (mainly the ones surrounding the Xbox Kinect tracking dot sequences, as well as the scenes containing heavy amounts of child acting). And yes, at times, it seems that Christopher Landon's script doesn't seem at all preoccupied with relating the storyline of this forth installment back to its predecessors. And don't get me started on the fact that the major scene from the trailer that I have been bombarded with for the past month or so isn't even in the movie. But, what did you expect?! Its "PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4"! The fact is, "Paranormal Activity 4" is not as bad as everyone is making it out to be. But if you want to talk on a purely horror genre level, if there is any real success in this film, it lies within the final 3 minutes, which are rather scary and effective if not analyzed too deeply. I would even go so far as to say that said final 3 minutes are so delightfully thrilling, that it will work to distract most audiences from how little scares the eighty-something minutes leading up to this ending actually contains. So, in the end, if you are planning on seeing this movie, probably the most important thing to be aware of is that this is one which falls under the category of, the more you disregard the stories gaping plot holes, the more you will enjoy the film (up to a point, I guess).
Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus
The original "Paranormal Activity" was a major success. Even with its limited budget, it gave us numerous scares, a creepy atmosphere, and used the found-footage style to new lengths. Needless to say, it was a great horror film. But the major success led to sequels that gave us the same atmospheres and some decent scares. But after the third film, the series began to show its age. "Paranormal Activity 4" is no exception.
The film takes place after the events of "Paranormal Activity 2" where it follows Alex, a 15 year old girl whose family has to watch a neighbor's son while his mom is recovering in the hospital. But as the days continue strange things begin to occur. Doors closing, shadow figures move on screen, objects are moved and weird noises are heard.
If you have seen the other Paranormal films, "4" won't be any different. In fact, the other films have been basic repeats every time except with new characters and a somewhat new plot. "4" continues this repetition but doesn't deliver on anything else. There aren't a lot of instances of shock value nor are there instances where the audience will jump out of their seats. The movie would've made more sense if activity in the title was switched with inactivity instead.
The acting is subpar but that is expected from the Paranormal films. The one big change this time around is the involvement of adult Katie. Katie was the main character from the first film and she actually has some screen time (if only for a couple of very short scenes) but it was nice to finally bring the character back that actually started it all. The other actors try their hardest but they don't bring anything amazing to the screen. But, like I said, audiences don't go to these movies looking for amazing acting.
The movie also falls in the ending. "Paranormal Activity 3" ended horribly with the introduction of the cult. "4" continues with another disappointing climax. While there is no need to spoil, many will know where the film is eventually taking them; and because of that, the film disappoints.
"Paranormal Activity 4" doesn't bring anything new to the series. Cheap scares, a creepy atmosphere, subpar acting and a story that is beginning to show its age. To say that a fifth film is already in progress should not be surprising. But to be honest, how many more films will it take for audiences to realize that "Paranormal Activity" isn't that creepy anymore? It should've stopped after two . . . but, as of right now, this popular horror franchise is far from over.
My least favorite
Like always Paranormal is able to get under your skin and scare you, but this time there is a lot of grain and no brain. What I loved most about the series, is that when you thought it was going to get bad they always added a little twist that made it better. Unfortunately, the fourth installment doesn't follow this pattern and doesn't fit the general puzzle of the film, and for that it ends up being the worst one.
This time the movie happens in the present, five years since the disappearance of Katie and Hunter. Now when a family from California has to take care of little Robbie, they discover that something dark is taking over their house.
My main concern with this film wasn't that it wasn't going to be original, because the found footage works for Paranormal Activity, but rather if the story was going to tie up nicely. And I was right, the movie isn't all that original, it follows the similar pattern but still spooks you now and then. But to my disgrace, the movie didn't bring everything together, it left ends dangling everywhere, and instead of answering any questions it just brought about more questions.
There is definitely some creepy moments, and I did enjoy watching this movie. The acting in it is incredible. But I expected so much more from Joost and Schulman, I mean seriously those guys directed the scariest non horror film of all time: Catfish. But, they weren't able to do so in Paranormal Activity because it just isn't fresh anymore.
Personally I wish there was more story to this, I was really looking forward to leaving the theatres and having epiphanies but instead I left the theatres with more questions than I did when I went it. So now I am just getting angry at the series, because although they are awesome, they are starting to just take our money from out pockets and give nothing for out little brains in return.
Overall, like always PA is spooky and fun, but because this one had no major exposition or any sort of explanation, I am going to give this movie a pass. I wish it had been better, I really did.
Alex: Let's go Wyatt.
As we enter the story, five years have passed since the demonically possessed Katie murdered boyfriend and sister alike and vanished into the shadows with her abducted nephew. In some regard we get a throwback to said nightmarish events, but mainly the focus rests upon a new suburban family, consisting of a teenage girl named Alex, her adopted brother Wyatt and their stereotypically ignorant parents.
Like dark clouds accumulating before a tempest to come, mysterious occurrences arise as a woman and her enigmatic child moves into the house across the street. At first with slight unsettlement, as the neighbor boy shows up uninvited in their garden playhouse. Later, increasingly sinister as darkness slips through the walls and we make acquaintance with the boy's invisible friend.
If you have followed the franchise thus far, there are no major surprises in store here. At best a spine-tingling pulse-raiser that etches you firmly into your seat. At worst a haggard jack-in-the-box, stuffed with long since outdated tropes and second-rate jump scares.
In uniform with its predecessors, it measures up all the same as serviceable popcorn fare. The plotline may be as transparent as its violent-prone apparition, but despite the ill-boding "4" in the title, it bears enough qualifications to scare its aficionados to satisfaction. As for those without prior interest, well, you probably won't convert to its following this time around either.
Not physically the most boring film I've ever seen, Activity 4 does however manage to be one of the most shallow. Though I'm pleased that the marketing stratagems of Paranormal Activity 2 onwards have helped bring horror a little more into the mainstream, the issue is that its only garbage like this thats now being approved.
There is virtually nothing original about the piece, even the best element it has going for it (creepy kids) is completely blown out of the water by films the likes of The Children. The mythology of Paranormal Activity (as well as the films themselves) become less gripping with every entry.
Activity 4 manages to just scrape by enough points with all its merits put together to achieve a "not quite the most abominable crap I've been subjected to in my life" and somehow barely held a decent amount of my attention for up to ninety minutes. Which is more than can be said for many movies I'v reviewed in the past.
The story follows a family that have gotten new neighbors across the street, and weird stuff starts happening around their house once the boy across the street starts spending time there.
The plot of the film follows the same formula that all the others have faced; they all have a predictable ending. I mean if you have seen the other Paranormal Activity movies, you pretty much have an idea of how this film is going to happen and it happened exactly as I predicted. The last 20 minutes or so are when the film really actually had me actually scared, but the rest of the movie is slow and predictable. I feel like in each Paranormal Activity they leave the best scares only for the end, and they leave you wishing you had waited for the DVD to come out instead of wasting all your money. I saw Sinister a few weeks ago and it was unpredictable, scary, and made me feel good that I had spent my money on a good horror flick, but this film just makes you sit through another series of cliché scares that we have seen a million time before. One of my main problems with horror movies is that they usually are predictable and not scary, and this film is one of them. I did enjoy the first Paranormal Activity and I even had some fun with the third, but if the series continues to be slow and not going anywhere than it will just am remembered as a series that stole all our money. If you are a hardcore fan of the series you may have some scares and a good time, but if you are not, don't waste your time.
The cast was a bunch of people that were hoping this movie would make them famous, well I have already forgotten about half of them and they honestly brought nothing to the table. Kathryn Newton just annoyed me, she just seemed like they annoying teenaged girl that is always screwed in a horror movie. Brady Allen was actually kind of fun, I mean he is a dorky and lovable guy and I'm pretty sure he was the only one in the movie with any common sense. I mean people are so dumb in horror movies that it always makes me happy to see one guy that knows what you are supposed to do when crazy stuff starts happening to your house. Katie Featherstone returns to the series and she honestly didn't have much to show for it, I mean she is in a few scenes and they still don't explain what in the hell has happened to her in the series. I hope these people enjoyed their hour of fame, because I can't see their careers going past this.
Paranormal Activity 4 didn't seem like it was trying to be anything new, it just seemed like they are trying to drag out the story as long as possible so they can keep taking our money. Many movies do that, buts it really makes me mad when horror movies do it because we pay money to be scared and it never does. I will admit there will be moments where you might get chills and it may even make you scared to stay in your own house, but all the other movies have done that already so I wish they will just cut to the chase and make a final film already. Do you remember the Saw series? There was a good first film, and then Hollywood saw dollar bills in their eyes and had to make about seven sequels until finally they ended it. That same thing is happening here; except I am scared they will go even past seven movies and get into the double digits. I may be an old man and still be watching Paranormal Activity 37, and I still will pay to go see it because I will hope at some point they will end it. I liked the idea of Paranormal Activity the first time I saw the original, but now I just don't care anymore. So in conclusion, it may have some chilling scenes and even leave you scared, but it really is just an example of when a series needs to end.